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BRICS Summit? What BRICS Summit, Kim just stole the show!

North Korea’s hydrogen bomb test threatens to overshadow China’s BRICS Summit and compel Beijing to instrumentalize its vital aid as a punishment against its neighbor in order to save face before the international community, thereby falling into a dangerous trap that the US may have set for it.

Andrew Korybko

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Kim Jong-Un conducted his country’s sixth nuclear test, this time experimenting with an ICBM-capable hydrogen bomb that’s reportedly the strongest munition that it’s ever wielded. Analysts had been warning that a move such as this could have been expected for some time, but it nevertheless caught observers off guard that it occurred right on the eve of China’s BRICS Summit in Xiamen.

This fact alone disproves the Mainstream Media-promulgated lie that North Korea is purportedly China’s puppet, since Beijing in no way approves of what just happened and is actually incensed that the young Kim is trying to steal the spotlight during the most important event that the People’s Republic has hosted all year. Just a few months ago during the Belt and Road Summit, Kim did the same thing, except that time he provocatively test-fired a missile instead.

He’s clearly outdone himself this time with the H-Bomb test, which was a message to China just as much as it was one to the US. Everyone’s aware of why Pyongyang and Washington are at odds, but comparatively few people even recognize that there’s an ever-widening chasm of distrust between China and North Korea.

There was a time when North Korea was solidly under Chinese influence, but those days are long gone, especially now that Kim Jong-Un is in charge. The youthful leader (or the junta behind him, depending on who the reader believes is truly calling the shots in the Hermit Kingdom) has figured out that he can extract concessions more successfully from China than from the US, but has overplayed his hand and is now in danger of losing it all.

China’s security interests vis-a-vis North Korea are simple enough — prevent the US military from ever again reaching the banks of the Yalu River like during the early days of the Korean War (which implies working against a reunification solution that could allow just that), and uphold stability in North Korea through food and other forms of limited aid in order to avoid a human tidal wave of Weapons of Mass Migration swarming across the border if the state collapses.

North Korea acutely understands this state of affairs, hence why it assumed that it could do whatever it wanted in terms of weapons tests and the like while taking the aforesaid Chinese aid for granted, but that appears to be changing now because of just how much he’s embarrassed China, which admittedly seems to have been on purpose.

It can never be known with any certain degree of accuracy what Kim Jong-Un or his junta backers are thinking, but observations about North Korea’s behavior suggest that it’s intentionally trying to irk China a bit because it might have gotten too paranoid about the prospects of Beijing cutting a deal with Washington against Pyongyang. Ironically, however, North Korea appears to be making this fear a self-fulfilling prophecy through its short-term actions of always trying to upstage China in the international arena.

Instead of resulting in more aid, which for all intents and purposes serves the role of bribes for the North Korean “deep state” (permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies), Kim Jong-Un risks forcing China to downscale the said assistance in order to save face in front of the international community and consequently endanger the stability of his country.

As respectable of a goal as the Juche self-reliance ideology may be, it’s practically impossible for North Korea to implement under contemporary international conditions because it lacks the natural and agricultural resources to do so, thereby making its survival dependent on China for the foreseeable future, and trapping Beijing in a relationship of complex interdependency that the US is more than eager to exploit to its gain.

Washington never misses the chance to draw attention to this relationship in order to pressure Beijing to “do more” against Pyongyang, knowing full well that the only outcome of this policy is that China would decrease or cut off its aid to North Korea and resultantly destabilize its most unpredictable and nuclear-armed neighbor. The end goal, as the US hopes it will be, is to redirect or at least “rebalance” some of North Korea’s military attention against its former patron, which might be an implied American precondition for holding the one-on-one talks that Kim Jong-Un has said that he wants.

The only scenario in which North Korea would lash out against China is if the latter goes along with US suggestions in squeezing the country through a diminishment of aid, which could endanger its stability to the point of putting Beijing in Pyongyang’s nuclear crosshairs just as Seoul, Tokyo, and Guam currently are.

If the US felt that it had successfully turned the two former allies into hated enemies just like it did with the USSR and China in the Old Cold War and is actively working to do as regards China and India in the New Cold War, then it’s expected that Washington would tone down its hostility towards Pyongyang and possibly reinitiate one-on-one talks, keenly understanding that this would unbalance North Korea’s military attention for the time being by making it relatively more concentrated against Beijing in that case.

The point here isn’t to actually resolve North Korea’s nuclear weapons issue, but to simply redirect or “rebalance” the targeted focus against China, in which case could the West would then attempt to replace Beijing as North Korea’s most important donor and reverse the complex interdependency relationship.

It should be remembered at all times that if North Korea’s small number of nuclear weapons are a credible deterrent to the US, then they’re even more effective in this capacity against China, which has comparatively less nuclear potential than America and is much easier for North Korea to inflict substantial damage against due to its obvious geographic proximity.

For this reason alone, it’s plausible that the US is attempting to manipulate North Korea into behaving belligerently against China in order to achieve this dreamed-of goal, but that this can only happen if Washington is able to engineer the circumstances under which Beijing would instrumentalize its vital aid to Pyongyang as a punishment for its missile and nuclear tests, ergo the recent US provocations which pushed North Korea into testing its H-Bomb on the eve of China’s BRICS Summit.

Should the US-controlled Mainstream Media succeed in shaping the perception that Kim’s latest nuclear test overshadowed China’s BRICS Summit, then Beijing might fall into the trap of de-facto sanctioning North Korea via a dramatic downscaling of its aid in order to save face before the international community, though with the inadvertent risk of becoming the new object of Kim Jong-Un’s ire if this move ends up seriously threatening the stability of his government.

There’s no “good way” to deal with North Korea, and it might turn out that this is the “least bad” option that China has available, but either way, the consequences of this action hold the very real threat of backfiring on Beijing and working out to the US and, interestingly enough, even Kim Jong-Un’s grand strategic favor if both play their cards right and cut the ultimate “win-win” deal against the People’s Republic.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.

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Shannon
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Shannon

This is a very logical, reasonable, well thought out analysis. But I can’t believe that China (as in the PLA) would ever be “surprised” by North Korea. Surely, they have precise Intel about all of Pyongyang ‘s moves.

Jon Burness
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Jon Burness

I would think China and NK, are working together behind the scenes

Shannon
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Shannon

Me too. Difficult to prove, though.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

Your might find this an interesting read in support of your statement: http://www.globalresearch.ca/avoiding-nuclear-war-why-kim-jong-uns-strategy-makes-sense/5603657

7.62x54r
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7.62x54r

Seems absurd that NK would militarily threaten China with its nukes. The US might have turned China against the USSR 50 years ago, but NK will never trust the US.

seby
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seby

Indeed absurd. Even more absurd to anulyse any US msm anulysis. BS and gossip factor high.

Dorthyredison
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Dorthyredison

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Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

“- There is no combination of U.S. sanctions, threats, or pressures that will make Beijing take steps that are fundamentally contrary to China’s vital national security interests. (Here, the «vital national security» of China means just that, not the way U.S. policymakers routinely abuse the term to mean anything they don’t like even if it has nothing to do with American security, much less with America’s survival.) Aside from speculation (which is all it is) that China could seek to engineer an internal coup to overthrow Kim in favor of a puppet administration, maintaining the current odious regime is Beijing’s… Read more »

Le Ruscino
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Le Ruscino

Did anyone ever think that NK was China’s “SHOW” all along to dismantle US bases & begin Dollar transition from US Dollar to Chinese Dollar? 1 – US dare not attack NK under any circumstances so Trump is on a hook he can’t get off easily 2 – US Dollar hegemony is built today solely on the strength of US Military 3 – NK is as disposable to China as SK is to USA but neither will pull the trigger 4 – US Military weakness has been exposed in Syria & recent Naval disasters For US to now do nothing… Read more »

Anthony Enos Wicher
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Anthony Enos Wicher

The only way to deal with North Korea is cooperation between the U.S. and China, not this endless geopolitical maneuvering.

John Karimi
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John Karimi

I don’t see this move at all as a surprise and face losing act by Pyongyang. It drives home the message to the US that military options are out of the question when trying to deal with North Korea. China has every interest in sending that message and showing Washington that no matter what economic sanctions Trump may threaten China with if it does not reign in Kim, in the end the one deciding over these matters is North Korea itself. North Korea somehow initiating secret deals with the US against China seems even more outlandish, considering it is the… Read more »

220VOLTS
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220VOLTS

Unfortunately, for the US, Kim is the one holding the moral high ground here. It’s painfully clear that the US is using South Korea as a vassal state when a US General says Seoul was “appeasing” the North. Listen; the Korean peninsula belongs to the Korean people. If the South wants to make nice with Pyongyang – so be it.
Let’s get those 30,000 US troops out of the South and let the Koreans settle the matter between themselves (just like the US did in its Civil War.

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Why are Russian Tu-160 Nuclear Bombers in Venezuela? (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 40.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda take a look at Russia’s military cooperation with Venezuela, and how this military partnership leaves neocons in Washington crying ‘Russian aggression’.

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Via Press TV


A pair of Tu-160 bombers, known as Blackjack”, landed in Caracas on Monday following a 6,200-mile flight, which is said to be aimed at showcasing Moscow’s growing military prowess and shoring up the position of Venezuela’s embattled president, Nicolás Maduro.

The planes touched down at the Simón Bolívar international airport as part of a larger fleet also including an An-124 military transport plane and an Il-62 passenger jet

The Russian defense ministry said the bombers were shadowed by Norwegian F-18 fighter jets during part of their flight.

Venezuela’s defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López, said the arrival of the aircraft for joint maneuvers was not intended as a provocation. “We are makers of peace, not war,” he was quoted as saying by the state broadcaster Venezolana de Televisión (VTV).

Russia’s ambassador in Caracas, Vladimir Zaemskiy, told VTV the deployment reflected the “very fruitful” military partnership that had developed since the relationship was forged by Venezuela’s late leader Hugo Chávez in 2005.

However, specialists say the move is designed to signal to Washington that Caracas is not without international support.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at last week’s meeting with Lopez that Russia would continue to send its military aircraft and warships to visit Venezuela as part of bilateral military cooperation.

Russia sent its Tu-160 strategic bombers and a missile cruiser to visit Venezuela in 2008 amid tensions with the US after Russia’s brief war with Georgia. A pair of Tu-160s also visited Venezuela in 2013.

Russia-US relations are currently at post-Cold War lows over Ukraine, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. Russia has bristled at the US and other NATO allies deploying their troops and weapons near its borders.

Asked about the Russian bombers, Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said he had no specific information about the deployment.

The bombers’ deployment follows Venezuelan President Maduro’s visit to Moscow last week in a bid to shore up political and economic assistance even as his country has been struggling to pay billions of dollars owed to Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday voiced support for Venezuelan leader, telling him, “We support your efforts to achieve mutual understanding in society and all your actions aimed at normalizing relations with the opposition.”

Russia is a major political ally of Venezuela, which has become increasingly isolated in the world under growing sanctions led by the US and the European Union, which accuse Maduro of undermining democratic institutions to hold onto power, while overseeing an economic and political crisis that is worse than the Great Depression.

Hit by low oil prices and the impact of US sanctions, Maduro is seeking support from allies after winning a second presidential term this year.

Maduro, who took over following the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013, has come under strong pressure from US President Donald Trump’s administration.

After talks last year between Maduro and Putin, Russia, Venezuela’s major creditor, agreed to restructure $3.15 billion of debt from a loan taken out by Caracas in 2011 to finance the purchase of Russian arms.

Russia and Venezuela enjoy a long history of ties and Maduro’s predecessor Chavez, known for his passionate tirades against the United States, was a welcome guest at the Kremlin.

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America’s wars are against American’s interests

War is a racket

Richard Galustian

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To advocate wars are good is insane!

For one, Afghanistan is about a ridiculously flawed US government foreign policy. it is not about ‘winning’ a war as Erik Prince describes in his video.

There is no reason for the US to be in Afghanistan.

Something Mr. Prince seems to fail to understand the reader can judge by watching Prince’s presentation promoting war.

That said, what Erik Prince explains about the military industrial complex is correct. Weapons purchases must be curtailed.

However more importantly, what he fails to say is America must stop its ‘’regime change policy’ and avoid future wars, is the real issue.

To provoke war for example with Russia or China is absolute insanity producing eventually only nuclear armageddon, the consequence is the destruction of the planet.

Trillions of dollars should not be spent (and wasted) by the Pentagon but that money should be used to build America’s roads; expand railways; build hospitals and schools, etc.

Especially also to pay much needed disability benefits to disabled vets who wasted their lives in past pointless wars from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq et al. Americans soldiers need to ‘go home’.

Withdrawing its unnecessary US bases worldwide; a left over outdated idea from the end of WW11, such as America’s military presence in Korea, Japan, Germany; the Persian Gulf, even in the UK.

Foreign military interventions are adventures pursued by ‘elites’ interests, ‘using’ NATO in most cases, as its tool, only for their (the elites) profit at the expense of ordinary people.

“War is a Racket” to quote the much decorated hero and patriot, US Marine, Major General Smedley Butler.

We can learn from history to understand America’s current predicament.

Brown Brothers Harriman in New York in the 1930s financed Hitler and Mussolini right up to the day war was declared by Roosevelt following the attack on Pearl Harbour.

A little taught fact in America’s colleges and ivy league universities is that Wall Street bankers (with a degree of assistance from the Bush family by the way) at the time had decided that a fascist dictatorship in the United States would be far better for their business interests than Roosevelt’s “new deal” which threatened massive wealth re-distribution to recapitalize the working and middle class of America and build America’s infrastructure.

So the Wall Street bankers recruited the much respected General Smedley Butler to lead an overthrow of the us government and install a “Secretary of General Affairs” who would be answerable to Wall Street, not the people; who would crush social unrest and shut down all labour unions. however General Smedley Butler only pretended to go along with the scheme, then exposed the plot. The General played the traitors along to gather evidence for congress and the president. When Roosevelt learned of the planned coup, he initially demanded the arrest of the plotters but this never happened because Roosevelt was in effect blackmailed by those same US bankers; another story!

Read the words of Major General Smedley Butler who explains what exactly happened.

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service as a member of our country’s most agile military force — the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to major general. and during that period I spent more of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for wall street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. “I suspected I was just a part of a racket at the time. now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession, I never had an original thought until I left the service. my mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service. Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the national city bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of wall street. the record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that the standard oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals and promotion. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. the best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. I operated on three continents.” —

General Smedley Butler, former US Marine Corps Commandant, 1935.

We need peace not wars.

We need infrastructure building in America and Europe……not wars.

Somebody should explain this to Mr. Prince, and perhaps to his sister too…..who happens to be part of President Trump’s administration!

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Theresa May goes to Brussels and comes back with a big fat donut (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 39.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Theresa May’s trip to Brussels to try and win some concessions from EU oligarchs, only to get completely rebuked and ridiculed, leaving EU headquarters with nothing but a four page document essentially telling the UK to get its act together or face a hard Brexit.

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Via Zerohedge


Any confidence boost that might have followed Theresa May’s triumph this week over her party’s implacable Brexiteers has probably already faded. Because if there was anything to be learned from the stunning rebuke delivered to the prime minister by EU leaders on Thursday, it’s that the prime minister is looking more stuck than ever.

This was evidenced by the frosty confrontation between the imperturbable May and her chief Continental antagonist, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, which was caught on film on Friday shortly before the close of a two-day European Council summit that descended into bitter recriminations. After offering token praise of May’s leadership, Brussels’ supreme bureaucrat criticized her negotiating strategy as “disorganized”, provoking a heated response from May.

Earlier, May desperately pleaded with her European colleagues – who had adamantly insisted that the text of the withdrawal agreement would not be altered – to grant her “legally binding assurances” May believes would make the Brexit plan palatable enough to win a slim victory in the Commons.

If there were any lingering doubts about the EU’s position, they were swiftly dispelled by a striking gesture of contempt for May: Demonstrating the Continent’s indifference to her plight, the final text of the summit’s conclusions was altered to remove a suggestion that the EU consider what further assurances can be offered to May, while leaving in a resolution to continue contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit.

Even the Irish, who in the recent past have been sympathetic to their neighbors’ plight (in part due to fears about a resurgence of insurrectionary violence should a hard border re-emerge between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), implied that there patience had reached its breaking point.

Here’s the FT:

But Leo Varadkar, the Irish premier, warned that the EU could not tolerate a treaty approval process where a country “comes back every couple of weeks following discussions with their parliament looking for something extra…you can’t operate international relations on this basis.”

Senior EU officials are resisting further negotiations — and suggestions of a special Brexit summit next month — because they see Britain’s requests as in effect a bid to rewrite the exit treaty.

Mr Varadkar noted that many prime ministers had been called to Brussels “at short notice” for a special Brexit summit “on a Sunday in November,” adding: “I don’t think they would be willing to come to Brussels again unless we really have to.”

In response, May threatened to hold a vote on the Brexit plan before Christmas, which would almost certainly result in its defeat, scrapping the fruits of more than a year of contentious negotiations.

Given that Mrs May aborted a Commons vote on her deal this week because she feared defeat by a “significant margin,” her comments amounted to a threat that she would let MPs kill the withdrawal agreement before Christmas.

Mrs May made the threat to German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron and EU presidents Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk as the two day Brussels summit descended into acrimony, according to diplomats.

“At the point where there is no prospect of getting anything more from the EU, that’s when you would have to put the vote,” said one close aide to Mrs May.

If this week has taught May anything, it’s that her plan to pressure the EU into more concessions (her preferred option to help her pass the Brexit plan) was an unmitigated failure. And given that running out the clock and hoping that MPs come around at the last minute (when the options truly have been reduced to ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’) leaves too much room for market-rattling uncertainty, May is left with a few options, two of which were previously ‘off the table’ (though she has distanced herself from those positions in recent weeks).

They are: Calling a second referendum, delaying a Brexit vote, pivoting to a softer ‘Plan B’ Brexit, or accepting a ‘no deal’ Brexit. As the BBC reminds us, May is obliged by law to put her deal to a vote by Jan. 21, or go to Parliament with a Plan B.

If May does decide to run down the clock, she will have two last-minute options:

On the one hand she could somehow cancel, delay, soften or hold another referendum on Brexit and risk alienating the 17.4 million people who voted Leave.

But on the other hand, she could go for a so-called Hard Brexit (where few of the existing ties between the UK and the EU are retained) and risk causing untold damage to the UK’s economy and standing in the world for years to come.

Alternatively, May could accept the fact that convincing the Brexiteers is a lost cause, and try to rally support among Labour MPs for a ‘softer’ Brexit plan, one that would more countenance closer ties with the EU during the transition, and ultimately set the stage for a closer relationship that could see the UK remain part of the customs union and single market. Conservatives are also increasingly pushing for a ‘Plan B’ deal that would effectively set the terms for a Norway- or Canada-style trade deal (and this strategy isn’t without risk, as any deal accepted by Parliament would still require approval from the EU).

But as JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank anticipated last week, a second referendum (which supporters have nicknamed a “People’s Vote”) is becoming increasingly popular, even among MPs who supported the ‘Leave’ campaign, according to Bloomberg.

It’s not the only previously unthinkable idea that May has talked about this week. Fighting off a challenge to her leadership from pro-Brexit Conservative members of Parliament, the premier warned that deposing her would mean delaying Britain’s departure from the European Union. That’s not something she admitted was possible last month.

The argument for a second referendum advanced by one minister was simple: If nothing can get through Parliament — and it looks like nothing can — the question needs to go back to voters.

While campaigners for a second vote have mostly been those who want to reverse the result of the last one and keep Britain inside the EU, that’s not the reason a lot of new supporters are coming round to the idea.

One Cabinet minister said this week he wanted a second referendum on the table to make clear to Brexit supporters in the Conservative Party that the alternative to May’s deal is no Brexit at all.

Even former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is urging his supporters to be ready for a second referendum:

Speaking at rally in London, Press Association quoted Farage as saying: “My message folks tonight is as much as I don’t want a second referendum it would be wrong of us on a Leave Means Leave platform not to get ready, not to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.”

Putting pressure on Brexiteers is also the reason there’s more talk of delaying the U.K.’s departure. At the moment, many Brexit-backers are talking openly about running down the clock to March so they can get the hard Brexit they want. Extending the process — which is easier than many appreciate — takes that strategy off the table.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has continued to call for May to put her deal to a vote principally because its defeat is a necessary precursor for another referendum (or a no-confidence vote pushed by an alliance between Labour, and some combination of rebel Tories, the SNP and the DUP).

“The last 24 hours have shown that Theresa May’s Brexit deal is dead in the water,” said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “She’s failed to deliver any meaningful changes. Rather than ploughing ahead and recklessly running down the clock, she needs to put her deal to a vote next week so Parliament can take back control.”

The upshot is that the Brexit trainwreck, which has been stuck at an impasse for months, could finally see some meaningful movement in the coming weeks. Which means its a good time to bring back this handy chart illustrating the many different outcomes that could arise:

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